APRIL!!!!

4/25/2016

It is almost the end of April and we are so happy to see the warm weather finally arriving! It's the signal of change and the arrival of good things!

A big exciting thing has happened since our last blog post:

On April 15, our adoption paperwork was approved by a judge in a court way across the ocean....and Mikah was officially made OUR son! The adoption was finalized! "Mikah" is now officially Milen Benjamin Whiteley!

Our newest son Milen:


We get a lot of questions about his name -- Milen is his given first name, and we decided early on to keep it because: 1) We really like the name, and 2) we liked the idea of keeping that part of his past with him. We then picked Benjamin for his middle name.....just because we liked it. :)


So.........

The next thing we are waiting for???? Travel dates!

Sometime in the next few weeks we will find out when we can travel to pick him up. I am estimating it will be sometime in the last half of May (but of course we don't know for sure). It's getting closer and closer! Only a few weeks away!

The other good news: For a number of reasons, I had planned to travel by myself, and then have Jordan stay behind at home our other kids. Since the trip will be almost 2 weeks long, we felt like that would be the best use of our parent resources, and then Jordan wouldn't have to take so much time off work, either. And of course, it was a relief on the adoption fund budget to have one less plane ticket to buy, too! It all made sense.

Well, just recently, a very generous family member offered to pay for an extra plane ticket and invited me to find someone to go along with me! What a blessing! So, my lovely sister Shelly agreed she could tolerate being with me for two whole weeks :) and agreed to go! I think we will have a very fun time together. Yay!




Other things:

Thanks to all who participated in our One Less Orphan auction earlier this month! Almost everything has been shipped out to you all (with one or two exceptions, I believe), and I thank you for your generosity with your bidding and payment!

Also, we held our Canvas Painting night on the 15th, which was a benefit to raise money for a donation of diapers for Milen's group home. Thank you so much to Kim for donating your time, talent, and your classrom to pull off this event! Also, thanks to all you who participated! We had such a good time, and raised close to $600! We also had a few people who couldn't come to paint, but sent donations anyway -- we thank you! I'm so excited for this opportunity to give this gift!







Getting Ready

3/21/2016


Jimmy

So it's been a bit since I've updated the blog, and that's because, well, there hasn't been much to update! We're kind of stuck in the waiting period between the first and final trip, and are just trying to wait patiently!

The good news is, things are moving along as they are supposed to, and we are still on track to travel in May to bring Mikah home. Our paperwork is slowly moving through the system as it should be. After our Meetcha Trip in January, we had to file more paperwork with the U.S. Immigration department, officially accept Mikah's referral, and send that all over to his country to be approved. Our in-country attorney held an Article 5 interview on our behalf at the U.S. embassy over there, and then submitted that paperwork to the Minister of Justice. Now that they have all the needed paperwork, these are the next steps we are waiting on:

  1. Get signature from Minister of Justice
  2. Get assigned a judge and court date
  3. Court date -- this is when the adoption is officially finalized! He will officially be our son on this day!
  4. Judge signs paperwork (can be up to 10 days after court)
  5. We are assigned travel dates!

In this meantime, we are getting ourselves and our home ready for Mikah. We have gradually accumulated most of the things he'll need -- clothes, bedroom furniture, equipment, etc. I had fun cleaning out the spare room (now his bedroom!) and making it a little more "boyish." I didn't want to go too crazy for fear of overwhelming the poor boy :) but it seemed like a few decor changes were in order.


Bedroom

I had to search high and low to find a basic, used pediatric wheelchair that Mikah can use until he is able to be fitted for one -- I know from experience with our daughter that ordering a wheelchair through insurance is a good 6-month long process! So he needs something that will work in the meantime.

So finally, after perusing multiple stores and checking Craigslist about 17 times a day, I found an auction store that had a chair that looked like it would work. It was technically an adult wheelchair, but was made for a very small adult, and looked like it would work better than anything else I could find. Plus, they only wanted $60 for it. SOLD!

While I was there checking that one out, the guy mentioned that they had another wheelchair for sale too, but it was kind of strange looking, and he would be willing to let that one go for $40. He figured I'd probably not want it. I recognized it right away as a Convaid Cruiser Adaptive Stroller, which retails brand new for about $1700. Used ones sell for a lot more than $40!

It needed a little cleaning up, but was otherwise in great condition and looked like it would fit Mikah perfectly. "Hmm, I think I'll take that one too," I said, trying to be nonchalant. Score!


Wheelchairs

I could tell he thought it was a little strange that I was buying both chairs. :) I was just so excited about my two good deals that I didn't care what he thought.

So we now have two good options! He will use whatever one fits him the best, and we can keep the other one around as a spare.


Katherine



January Update

1/26/2016

Wow, it is more than past time for a blog update! A lot has happened in the past month, and our lives have been a bit of a whirlwind!

The big news, of course, is our trip to meet Mikah! We traveled the first week of January, and spent 7 days in his country.

We spent about 13 hours total on three different flights, and arrived at our destination a full day after leaving (we lost seven hours of time with the time differences).

Jordan found that airplanes are not made for big men with long legs. We both felt pretty squished especially after the long, over-the-ocean flight....but I could tell it was harder on him than me. He survived, though. :)


pic airport selfie

This is our pre-flight airport selfie. We were both still feeling pretty fresh at that point.

We were thankful to arrive safely on Saturday night, and had Sunday to rest and get ready for the week.

We had the privilege of spending time with Mikah every day for that Monday through Friday, two visits a day!

It was a huge blessing to finally be able to meet our precious boy. We bonded with him easily, and had a wonderful time interacting with him. We took a zillion pictures, which I wish I could post here!

He was sweet, affectionate, and full of smiles for us! We found that he loves touch and human contact (in fact, he spent a lot of time clinging to us with all his strength, with his face as close to ours as possible). He also sucks his thumb in the most adorable way when he is tired. :)

He was pretty quiet, but we found that the best way to make him giggle is to whistle a tune at him. That was always rewarded with a huge smile, and the occasional belly laugh that was so deep and grown-up sounding that we were surprised every time! We loved that!

We were able to feed him his lunch most days we were there. It took a day or so of getting used to doing this -- we made the grave mistake of not feeding him fast enough at first! Boy, did we learn! :) He loves his food and he eats it fast. He was always a little critical when the food was gone and his water or tea was all that was left. Definiteley not as good as the food, in his opinion. But it was wonderful to see him having preference for certain things over others, and being able to express that!

We were also happy to see that he has grown over the past year! We brought clothes for him in a selection of sizes, so we could find out his size. He fit into the size 8s, the largest size we brought!

Overall it seems he is receiving good care in his group home, which is a huge relief to us! This made it 100 times easier to leave him for these next few months. It is wonderful knowing he is being well-fed, changed, and bathed on a regular basis by caregivers that care about him. This is what I have prayed for since we started this adoption process!

The staff was also friendly to us and seemed to be happy Mikah was getting a family.

Also, the rest of our time spent in Mikah's country was unforgettable! Our days were busy with our visits with Mikah, but we did have time in between to do some sightseeing and shopping. That was fun, and it was great to get a feel for the culture our son comes from! They have delicious food there for very cheap prices:


pic room service


pic jordan dessert


We had a wonderful driver and translator (both provided by our in-country facilitator), and also traveled with another American couple who were there for adoption visits with their son! This was a big blessing to us, and made our downtime a lot more fun!

I have described this trip to others as life-changing for us. Adoption in general is life-changing, of course! But somehow, this trip was an unforgettable experience for both of us. We came back with this new and fuller love for our little boy (who we had only seen mere pictures of before)....and also came back with affirmation that this is our calling. This boy is truly meant to be our son. The time we spent with Mikah made it abundantly clear to us!

We are praising God for His faithfulness to us and to Mikah! We are counting down the days until we can go back and bring him home!


It's Almost Time!

12/30/2015

Our final preparations are being done for our trip! We leave in just 3 more days! Eeek! Things are coming together, though, and I know we'll be prepared.

Today we received details on our travel itinerary, where we will be staying, etc. We have a driver and translator that will pick us up from the airport, drive us between cities, and get us to the orphanage for our visits. I am feeling thankful that all these details are already worked out for us!

There are a lot of last minute details we are finishing up this week -- packing, getting childcare arrangements all set up, etc. Also, we had to mail in a few more stacks of paperwork:

paperwork

...because what fun would adoption be without the endless supply of confusing forms to fill out? :)

Yesterday we made another trip to the police station to get fingerprinted again....because, ya know, the first 2 times weren't enough. Should be the last time, though! We wanted to get that in before we leave, so that everything is processed in time and does not delay us.

We also need to update our medical forms again, so I'm going to try to quickly get that in before we travel as well. It's a tricky thing -- if we get these things done too early, they expire and we have to do them all again. But if we wait too long, they delay our process. It's such a fun game!

We had fun shopping around for a few things to take with us on our daily visits to Mikah:

gifts

Some luggage-friendly toys, and clothing in a few different sizes (so we can find out what size he wears). We will be able to leave all these things with him. Whatever clothing doesn't fit him can be used by the other kids there.

We recently received some updated information on Mikah's height and weight, and were happy to see that he has grown! The last info we had was from 2013, and said he weighed about 39 pounds (a little peanut!). He was 12 years old at that time. Now, he is 14 and weighs almost 64 pounds, and is 3 inches taller! This is great news to us, and says a lot about how he is being cared for! It also helped us guess a little better on his clothing size.

We appreciate all your prayers and well wishes as we prepare to travel! Many of you have reached out to us, and we have been encouraged by your words.

Also, we would like to thank all of you that have made donations to us over this Christmas season! Some of you have donated anonymously, and since we cannot thank you in person, we will say it here: Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You have been a huge help and encouragement to us!


The Trip is Booked!

11/18/2015


DadAndKids

Finally! We got dates for travel! We are going overseas from January 1-January 9.

Not as soon as we had hoped (we thought it would surely be before Christmas)....but we have dates! We'll take it!

Yesterday and today I shopped around for the best deal on flights, and experienced a little sticker shock with the inflated holiday rates I was seeing! After getting some recommendations, I contacted an organization called Adoption Airfare, which offers discounted and humanitarian rates to families traveling for adoption and missions.

The woman I talked to, Katie, was SO nice and helpful, and set us up with flights that were a few hundred dollars cheaper than anything we found on our own. Yay! A little bit of relief.

We'll be flying over on a Friday, arriving that Saturday evening, and will be able to spend time with Mikah on Monday through Friday of the following week. Then we leave the following Saturday morning! Since we gain 7 hours on the way back, we'll arrive back in Michigan early Saturday evening after 19 hours of travel (that's going to be a long day!).

So, the game of hurry up and wait continues! All of a sudden I am thinking of the million or so things we need to do before the trip: arranging childcare, taking care of more paperwork, etc., etc., etc. Let the mad preparations begin!

We are so happy to have progress to report, and so excited we're so close to meeting our boy!



Just wanted to give an update on how God is blessing us these days!

  1. We met our matching grant through our Reece's Rainbow FSP! (In fact, the amount we needed for the match was met, and then some!) Thank you all SO much for donating! I have just heard from the donor, who confirmed that the matching $2500 is in the mail and on its way! Wonderful.

  2. We have just been given a van with a wheelchair lift! Another example of God's provision! The van was given to us by a wonderful couple, Ron and Sherry, who are no longer using the van (They were able to purchase another van that Ron is able to drive! So great!). So, a few weeks ago, Sherry called me up out of the blue wondering if we'd like the van. Why yes we would, I said! Talk about a great phone call to get! Totally wasn't expecting that! :)

    So, this past Saturday, we drove across town to their house to pick it up! Sherry was a dear and showed us all the ins and outs of the van, how to use the lift, etc., etc. Our kids are just thrilled with our new "gold" van (it's tan), haha. We thank the Koole Family for their generous gift and for taking time for us! Driving Mikah to and from appointments, school, etc., is going to be a whole lot easier!

  3. We have been chosen to be one of the Reece's Rainbow 5/5/5 families for the month of November! The 5/5/5 For Familes is a grant program that benefits 5 adopting families a month. Donors are urged to set recurring monthly donations of $5/month, with the idea that $5 from many people can add up to a large amount for the 5 families! For the month of October, I believe approximately $3800 was collected and divided amongst the families! Nothing to sneeze at, for sure! We are so thankful to have this opportunity!

    If you're interested in learning more:
    http://reecesrainbow.org/555families

    I have been a 5/5/5 donor for a while now, and it is really nice to see that a seemingly small amount of money ($5 -- the cost of a Starbucks coffee!), actually makes a difference! Definitely worthwhile, especially to realize that 60 families every year are being helped by this grant program.

I updated our fundraising thermometer to show where we are now....and things are looking great! It's hard to be believe we have come so far. That beginning number of $29,000 looked so intimidating when we were starting out in February, and now it's amazing to see that we only have around $5,000 to go (What? I know, right?). Pretty great. We're in the home stretch!
We are so thankful for everyone's support!


While We Wait.....

11/14/2015

We are still waiting to hear on the status of our dossier. We know it's been translated, authenticated, and submitted to Mikah's country. Now we're just waiting for them to tell us we can take our first trip to see him! The wait is pretty agonizing -- it seems like we've been waiting forever

waiting

faceplam

....When in reality, I know this is well within the range of a normal wait time. Whatever normal is.


Something great happened this week, though. One of Mikah's mates at his group home, was just adopted this week! Benjamin, who has been waiting for over 10 years, now has a forever family! I'm so happy to see him with his new mom and dad! Benjamin is one of two boys that Doug and Jackie have just adopted. Their other son, Reed, is from another part of the country.

Here is a pic of Benjamin being carried out by Doug, his dad.

doug+ben

Congratulations to the Thorntons! Seeing them united as a family makes me a bit emotional, and gives me a new sense of hope and anticipation for Mikah to join our family!


And since there's nothing I can do but twiddle my thumbs as we wait to hear news about Mikah....I thought I would put this other little guy out there that has been weighing heavily on my heart:

benukraine

He is known as Ben, and he is 6 years old, and needs a family! He is medically fragile, but has been receiving care from a mission team that has been visiting his institution. They are advocating for him and getting him the medical intervention he needs, so his condition has been improving! Apparently he is quite a sweetheart, and he is starting to blossom under their care.

His Reece's Rainbow profile is here: http://reecesrainbow.org/90775/ben

Also, you can read this blog post from someone who spent time with him: http://covenantbuilders.blogspot.com/2015/11/transferred-to-die.html

And this post from the mission team that's been working with him and the other boys at his institution: http://wideawakefamily.com/2015/11/03/the-most-important-post-revisited/

This special little guy tugs at my heart strings! I would so love for him to have a family of his own! He is located in a different country than our Mikah, but is in the same general area of the world. If you have questions about Ben or want to inquire about adopting him, please contact me, and I can put you in contact with the right people! whiteleybeth@gmail.com


Spaghetti Dinner!

10/14/2015

Thanks to all who came to our Spaghetti Dinner this past weekend! We had a great turnout, and felt very loved and supported by our family and friends! Your presence meant a lot to us.

We received $2431.13 in donations! The bulk of this total is what we received in the donation box at the dinner...but I also had a number of people hand me envelopes, money, etc. at church on the following Sunday, saying, "We couldn't make it to your dinner, so here is the donation we would have given."

donation box


After taking out the cost of food and supplies, we have a grand total of $2,001.86 to put toward Mikah's adoption!

Wow! Again, thank you SO much for your support! It is very humbling to know that you care that much! It was obvious that you all thought about much more than spaghetti when you decided what amount to donate! :)

The person that also deserves many many thanks is my good friend Cathy Hayes:

cathy hayes

(She is a little hard to get a picture of -- this blurry one is the best I have, haha)

This lady is like Superwoman! She was the planner and organizer of the whole dinner, and worked tirelessly for weeks and weeks to iron out all the fine details. Thank you Cathy for making it all run smoothly!


A few more pictures:

desert table

desert table

attendees

attendees


We also had a gaggle of volunteers that helped during the dinner, and helped set up the night before. Also, my sister Debbie volunteered her time and design talents in making up flyers and beautiful decorations for the event. There were also those that donated food and baked bread and sweets for us to serve. Many hands made the work light and fun! Thanks to you all.

These two pics don't show everyone, but many of you are in there!

volunteers

The dinner crew

volunteers

The cleanup crew


IT'S HERE!!!

9/28/2015

After 25 long days of waiting (yes, I counted them), we received our final piece of paperwork in the mail today! It's our revised USCIS approval notice, which says that the United States gives us approval to adopt Mikah. Everything has been waiting on this one longed-for piece of paper! We are so excited to finally get it and be able to send it overseas.

The paper itself doesn't look that exciting, so I added the fanfare I thought it deserved:

Flyer

Yep, I'm pretty good with MS Paint..... (my techie husband is dying with laughter, I'm sure)(Jordan: She's not wrong)

So, what's next?

This piece of paperwork will be mailed overseas to join the rest of our dossier paperwork that is already there. It will be put before the Minister of Justice of Mikah's country, who will (we hope!) decide to approve it, and issue the official referral for Mikah. Then, after a few weeks, we'll be issued our travel dates to go over and meet him! The idea that we are THIS close is stealing my breath away, literally!

In other news, we're making great progress toward our $2500 matching grant! THANK YOU to all that have donated to us so far! I have asked for a list of who donated so I can thank you personally -- it means SO much to have your support!

Our FSP currently reads $1533, meaning we have only $1258 left to reach our goal! Would you consider helping us, if you haven't already? No donation is too small! (Remember, anything you donate will be doubled!)

http://reecesrainbow.org/89386/sponsorwhiteley

Once it reads $2791, the matching $2500 will be added!
Thank you!


Save the Date!

9/22/2015

Our Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser is just over two weeks away! If you are local to Grand Rapids, mark your calendars and come on over for some fun and food that supports our cause!

Here are the details:

Flyer

RSVP is not necessary, but we would love to know if you plan to come (so we have an idea of how much food to make!).

You can let us know here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/809286745859452/

or email me at whiteleybeth@gmail.com

Hope to see you there!


Lesson Learned!

9/10/2015

Oh boy, the drama continues!

Yesterday I went to our local UPS store and carefully placed our thick packet of dossier paperwork into an overnight mailing envelope, to be sent to Nancy, our caseworker in Houston, TX.

The plan is for her to review all the paperwork, and then mail it to Mikah's country for translation.

In case you didn't see my earlier picture, here it is:

dossier

As I mentioned before, this paperwork represents months of hard work and thousands of dollars, and will be used by the courts to decide if we are suitable to adopt Mikah.

So, as I was preparing it all to be shipped (after checking it over for the thousanth and final time), I found I really had to resist the urge to grab the UPS guy by the lapels and tell him how important this is and that it better get there safe and sound! ....Or, at least, take him by the hand gently and plead into his eyes to please please PLEASE be careful with it!

Don't worry, I did neither.

I think he was careful.

But, apparently the person on the other end, in Houston, wasn't so careful. This is how Nancy received our package this morning:

dossier

AAAAAAHHHHH! Somehow it got dropped in a puddle? Swimming pool? Lake? We don't know for sure. All I know is that Nancy said she almost had a heart attack when she started opening it and the envelope began falling apart in her hands.

However, HUGE sigh of relief, the documents inside were okay -- I had organized everything by putting each document in a plastic sleeve, something I did just to keep it all neat and tidy...not because I was worried about water! Other than a little water on the outside of the plastic covering, everything was dry.

Phrew! Lesson learned for us! From now on, everything gets shipped in plastic! Probably double plastic to be sure!


Matching Grant!

9/8/2015

We have been offered a matching grant! A very generous donor has offered to match up to $2500 in donations made to our Reece's Rainbow FSP account, to be used to cover Mikah's adoption expenses. That means your $5 turns into $10...your $10 turns into $20...and so on!

Would you consider helping us meet this grant? All donations made to our Reece's Rainbow account are tax deductible (you will be sent a receipt via email), and can be used by us for any adoption expenses starting with our first trip overseas.

We decided to have a little fun with this matching grant: We had this photo collage of our family made into a puzzle. Anyone who donates will get their name written on the back of one of the pieces....and at the end we will glue it all together and frame it in a glass case so we can always remember our generous supporters!

puzzle

For those who aren't familiar with Reece's Rainbow, check out reecesrainbow.org and have a look around! They are a non-profit organization that advocates for orphans (primarily orphans with Down's Syndrome, but also those with other special needs too). They raise money for adoption grants for waiting children, and they also set up accounts for families that are in the adoption process to receive tax deductible donations. The adoptive family accounts are called Family Sponsorship Programs (or FSPs).

We found Mikah through Reece's Rainbow, so this organization is obviously close to our hearts!

If you feel led to donate to our FSP, here is our Reece's Rainbow link:

http://reecesrainbow.org/89386/sponsorwhiteley

The link will prompt you to either donate with Paypal, or you can mail a check directly to Reece's Rainbow, and they will apply it to our account (this avoids the 3% paypal fee).

Then, if you message me at whiteleybeth@gmail.com or through Facebook, I'll know to put your name on a puzzle piece! Otherwise, I can get a list of donors upon request if I ask Reece's Rainbow, so I will know eventually and can write you down!

Our FSP balance is starting at $291, so when it reads $2791.00, the matching $2500 will be added!

We thank you for your support!!


This past week started with the good news that our USCIS approval letter arrived, in record time.....especially since we had to fix a mistake on our application. Yay, right? The U.S. Immigrations Office approves us to adopt Mikah! A big step, for sure.

BUT WAIT....Hold the celebrations! In the midst of all this, we learned that...OOPS! There was small error in our homestudy, that had to do with the list of Mikah's special needs. Mikah's country is extremely picky that his every special need is listed, word for word, in the home study. We knew this going in, and I carefully relayed what I thought was the correct list. Turns out I took the list from the wrong set of paperwork, and the "true" list was slightly different, by just a few words. SO, we needed to get our home study updated to reflect this, and.....you guessed it, we have to file a revision to our USCIS application (and of course pay an extra $360 fee....it wouldn't be as fun if there wasn't more money involved, right? Haha.)

So, thanks to the quick work of Char and Melissa at our home study agency, our home study was updated to reflect the changes, and we are now in possession of 4 shiny new copies (within 24 hours of contacting them! They rock!).

Thursday we overnight-mailed our application for re-approval to USCIS. We are hoping and praying for a quick return so that we can move this adoption forward! Until this approval comes, we are stuck waiting. We are hoping it won't be longer than a month delay. As it is, this will push our first trip to Mikah's country into November or December.

It is so frustrating to know what our boy has to wait that much longer because...why? A few words missing from the paperwork! I was recently a part of a conversation on an online adoption support forum about the worry and anxiety we as adopting parents have. The consensus from many is that we feel a constant nagging worry that we are going to screw it all up through the adoption process. The fact that we know which child we are adopting, know they are waiting (and probably have been waiting a long time), makes every delay excruciating. Any tiny mistake in paperwork can delay an adoption for months. That feeling of guilt can be overwhelming!

But what I also loved about the same online thread, was that the overwhelming conclusion was that we need to learn to unshoulder that burden and rely on God...and trust that He is working, He is knowing, and He is loving. Loving us, and loving our children. It is in His hands. No matter what happens!

We appreciate your prayers through this! I invite you to pray with me for Mikah that he is experiencing peace and contentment, and also that he is receiving good care as he waits for us.

Thank you!


Our Dossier

8/17/2015

Our dossier is almost finished and ready to be sent to Mikah's country! For those of you not familiar with adoption-speak, a dossier is the big collection of all the paperwork that we have been working on for the past six months. Basically our entire life story (and more) is told in that set of paperwork.

I now understand why adoptive families post pictures of their completed dossiers.... what is laying there on the table represents months of blood, sweat, and tears! Its quite a relief to see it all in front of me and ready to go!

Here is that big beautiful pile of paper:

dossier

We are missing one important piece of paperwork: our notice of approval to adopt from USCIS (the U.S. Immigration Department). Instead of our approval notice, we received in the mail today....a big pink slip telling us that our application was missing one small piece of information.

AGH!!!! The dreaded pink slip! It's always something, right? So, we have overnight-mailed in the correction, and hopefully we'll be back on track in a few weeks time.

In the mean time, we can mail the rest of the dossier in and they will start translating it. So, I can at least feel like we're accomplishing something while we wait.

So... what happens next?

Once we get that last USCIS approval paper, our dossier will officially be submitted to the government of Mikah's country. They will review it, approve it (Lord willing!), and then notify us that we have "official referral" for Mikah and give us travel dates for our first trip!

This whole process will take a few months....but hopefully we're still on track to take our first trip in late October or November! Suddenly that doesn't seem so far away!

Things are starting to get real!

We are coming for you, Mikah!


We are in the middle of finishing up another successful fundraiser ­­ Our Hidden Treasures auction has made a preliminary total of $1855!!! We are so thankful to all of you that donated items, and also those that bid! It was, once again, a wonderful show of support!

Amanda, our auction coordinator and very busy mama, has been working to get everyone the information they need as far as shipping items, receiving their items, etc. So if you are waiting for information, we thank you for your patience! You have not been forgotten! Please feel free to contact me at whiteleybeth@gmail.com with any questions.

summer family pic

Now that we're a few months into this adoption, I've had some time to reflect on some things. First off, I have to just throw the admission out there: Fundraising is really stressful! Not only is it exhausing and time­ consuming, but it also involves us putting ourselves out there in a way I never would have thought I'd be able to do. The decision to adopt Mikah was such a personal one. We didn't ask for other's opinions or approval when we made the decision (yes, we confided in close friends and asked what they thought...but we certainly didn't poll the public!)....so to turn around and ask for everyone's help to raise funds for the adoption has not been easy to do!

In fact, over a year ago, when I first became aware of the need of children in these orphanages, that was the number one thing that held me up from seriously considering adopting ­­ you mean it costs THAT much? So we'd have to raise all the funds? We'd have to blindly ask people for help to fundraise, offering them nothing in return? NO WAY. That seemed like an insurmountable task to me.

But then, God called us to Mikah, and we could not say no. How could we? It was evident to me that since He was calling, He would do the providing. I still believe that 100% ­­ and sure enough, He has provided for us! We are over halfway funded now, and have somehow always had the money we needed for the next fee, whatever it may have been. We have been given our daily bread, as promised!

There have been many times that I have wished that we didn't need to fundraise. But, there have been many many wonderful things that have come from it:

  1. We have found out what a huge support group we have in our family, friends, and aquaintances. SO many people have donated things to us, donated money, donated their time, etc. In addition, we have received so much encouragement from so many people ­­ so many are interested in our adoption, are excited about it, ask us regularly how things are going, and so on. Just to know that so many are invested into this with us is so very helpful!

  2. More people have become aware of these kids and the needs they have. Mikah is only one of many many orphans in need of a loving family, in need of care, and in need of our prayers. This can only be a good thing for children stuck in a system where there seems to be no hope!

  3. This realization: God is making it clear to us that we cannot do this on our own. We have been successful so far because His hand is in it...definitely not because of what we are doing ourselves! This is a very good lesson to those of us (ahem, me) that think we need to have full control over every aspect of our lives. Haha. That control (or rather, the illusion of control) has been taken right out of our hands --­­ the whole adoption process in general has made this painfully evident! It's been such a good reminder for us to lean on God's promises, rather than our own devices. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding," right? (Prov. 3:5) We all know that verse so well, yet it can be so hard to live it!

So again, we thank you all for sticking with us through all of this! God is using all of you and we have been blessed!


One More Day!

7/6/2015

We have just over 24 hours left before our auction is complete!

Thanks to everyone who has participated in the bidding so far. For those of you that haven't had a chance to check it out, there are still some good deals to be had!

http://treasuresinhiddenplaces.blogspot.com/

Here are a few highlights:


An adoptive momma of another child from Mikah's orphanage generously donated this:

A Three Night Bed and Breakfast Getaway at the Jeremiah Inn in Tucson, Arizona

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(Kind of makes you want to take a mini­trip, doesn't it?)

http://www.jeremiahinn.com/mb


This Chunky Infinity Scarf in faded denim, handmade by Kim at Crocheted Love by Kim Kuiper

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https://www.facebook.com/CrochetedLoveByKimKuiper?fref=ts


And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't promote my own kids' artwork

(They were so proud to be contributing to the auction!)

Canvas Art #1, by Jimmy (age 5)

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Canvas Art #2, by Katherine (age 3)

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Thanks for all your support!


Casting A Net

7/3/2015

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Jordan here, I've been sitting on this post for a while wondering if I should post it. We've been rather busy and the auction and the funeral of a close friends daughter. It's always seemed like a weird time to actually get this out, but hey, a Bodbyl convinced me, so here it goes.

I heard a good sermon a few weeks ago by our pastor Rev Smit about missions and casting a net into the mission field. Part of the sermon was not to worry about drawing in a huge catch, and that even if you only caught one fish it was worth it. It stuck with me for the week and I've started thinking of our adoption as the shortest mission trip ever. It's not exactly a net that we're casting here, it's just one line being tossed at a specific fish that we're trying to slowly reel in through the trials of paperwork and fees.

Well that theme kept with me for the week and I've been thinking about our friends the Talsmas a lot recently. Their willingness to adopt a child with special needs was a big source of support for me in making the decision to adopt. I jokingly thought, "Well hey, it looks like my one string net had a second string attached after all."

Later Beth and I were talking about a couple we barely even know that saw the blog and told us that they were now considering adopting one of these children and I suddenly realized that our net had a third strand attached. That's pretty cool. The Talsmas inspired us, and we in turn inspired another family. Then I got to thinking about our family and friends that helped out with the garage sale and how they too were all strands in our net, then everyone that donated to the garage sale, and everyone that came out for it to support us. Suddenly I realize that we've got a really big net here for this one little fish!

So this inspiring feeling is going somewhere, stick with me here. Lately I've been kinda down about how long it's taking to adopt our child. Lots of dumb hold ups and having to resubmit paperwork, and I know that's a common thing for adopting parents but aaaaaaaaaaaarg. Beth and I have each other to vent to at night about it and that makes things a little better. It's been a roller coaster and I've recently had an added joy/frustration. I've finally started to emotionally connect with a kid I've never seen before. I'm kinda slow at these things, so it took me about 5 months to work through the emotions and register the change from "some kid we're adopting" to "my kid". Yay for milestones in personal development!

Then you suddenly realize that it's 2am and I'm not sleeping and where is my son and did he get food today and did they remember to brush his teeth and what if he's sick or someone is being mean to him and it's 2am calm down and go to sleep but my kid is not here! It's probably feels a lot like losing your kid at the airport and finding that he got on a one way trip to the moon and you won't be able to see or hear him or know if he's safe until he gets back but he could be being cared for by benevolent giraffes for all we know. I'm pretty sure no one knows exactly how that feels. So boo for personal growth that makes you freak out and go nuts.

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At this point I think I've got two options. The first is returning to thinking about him as "that kid". I mean I've never even personally met this kid how can I be so emotionally attached already. Tried it and blech... it feels much like turning to alcohol to cope. So now that I know what it must feel like to abandon your kid: what's behind door number 2! Slight insanity for the next 6 months. I win the prize!

When you're a kid you think you're going to grow up, and you have all these assumptions about your life. I never thought I'd grow up and opt for a mental state called moon giraffe, but here I am.

But then something amazing happened, we got word from down the net! The God sent family that we mentioned a few posts back went to the orphanage and saw a kid that might be ours. Two actually but both seemed to be OK and one even was managing to push himself around in a wheelchair. It feels really weird to be as happy as we are about two kids that might not even be the kid that we've never met before doing well, but we're still really happy about it. This combined with the good sermon gave me a third option. Be content, trust God, and worry because lets be honest that's not going to stop until months after he gets home.

His net is already in the water and we've been told to leave it in for the next 6 months. We see it grow every day, especially when we see a bunch of names of people that we don't know supporting the auction. Sometimes we even get to feel a tug from the net to let us know that our little fish is sill down there. It's a long drawn out aggravating process, but it's Gods plan and we're watching it in motion right in front of us. Lets wait it out and see who else it catches.


It's Auction Time!

6/30/2015

Our Hidden Treasures Auction is just a few short hours away!

The auction will run from midnight July 1 through July 8. We have many beautiful things up for bid, with new things being added all week long. So be sure to check it out more than once!

Here are a few examples of some of the items:

This gorgeous Pleated Purse, handmade by Mindy at The Practical Mom Shop

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This Handcrafted Soap Collection, lovingly donated by Lindsey at the Kalamazoo Gift Company

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This 8 x 10 canvas print by Bethany at Beholden Designs

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....and there are many more items. Along with handcrafted items, we have an assortment of new and used items such as books, DVDs, children's items, jewelry, and gift cards. Come check us out and help us get another step closer to bringing Mikah home! http://treasuresinhiddenplaces.blogspot.com/

Listings will be up at midnight tonight!


I am so happy to report that we have a small update on how Mikah is doing! There is a family adopting a little boy from the same group home, and they are there visiting him this week. I chatted via messaging with the adoptive mom, and found out a little bit out the conditions in the group home.

She reports that the home is clean and well-kept, and that the kids seem to be well cared for. She was able to see Mikah briefly, and reported that he looked really good, was up in a chair and was even smiling at her!

While it's only a small amount of information, it makes for a HUGE relief to this mama's heart way over here across the ocean! Since the group home has just opened this year, no adoptive families have ever been there yet, so no one knew what the conditions were or how any of the kids were faring. It was easy to assume the worst! To hear that Mikah is awake and alert and doing okay is such a big weight lifted off my shoulders, and an answer to my prayers.

I knew the other boy's family was going to be at the group home this week, and while I badly wanted an update, I was also extremely nervous about what they would find. But the news is good and I am so thankful! It makes the waiting just a little bit easier!

Hidden Treasures Auction

It's almost time for our online auction!

These auctions were started a number of years ago to help fundraise for families that were adopting these "hidden treasures" --kids from Mikah's orphanage. So now it's Mikah's turn, and we are thankful for the help! Our auction is set to take place in July.

The auction website is http://treasuresinhiddenplaces.blogspot.com

We are looking for auction items and would love donations! These things make excellent auction items:

  1. Handmade items
  2. Used items in good condition
  3. Gift cards (that can be used nationwide)

If you would like to donate anything, please contact me at whiteleybeth@gmail.com, or you can email Hidden Treasures directly at redeeminghiddentreasures@gmail.com

Thank you!


Financial Update

6/11/2015

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You may notice we have changed up our right sidebar a little bit. We have added a fundraising "thermometer" that shows how far we have gotten in these last few months, and also how much more we have to raise yet. I am so encouraged every time I look at it and see that we are almost halfway there! I've said it before, and I'll say it again: God is so good to us!

As you can see, we set our fundraising goal at $28,990. I often get asked questions about this, such as "Why does it cost SO much to adopt internationally?" "What does all that money go for?" Etc., etc. These are valid questions, and since so many people have generously donated to us, we feel it's wise to be transparent about our costs. So I thought I'd write up a brief breakdown of where all the money goes. It is definitely not as simple as paying for airfare to go pick up your child! (If only it could be that simple!)

  1. Agency fees: We have an agency here in the U.S. that does the work of making all the adoption arrangements. They work with attorneys, agencies, and the government of Mikah's country to ensure the adoption is approved, and also that we get to the right places at the right times, with the right documentation. They also "hold our hand" as we fill out all the adoption paperwork and provide us with our required educational hours.
    Our agency costs are:

    • $4000 paid at our commitment to adopt Mikah
    • $5700 at submission of our completed paperwork to Mikah's country (our dossier)
    • $5700 between our first and second trips

    Total: $15,400

  2. Homestudy fees: Normally, the adoption agency also handles the homestudy, but our agency is based in Iowa, so we had to find a Michigan agency to do our homestudy. Our homestudy agency will also be responsible for our postplacement reports (after the adoption is complete, Mikah's country requires four bi-yearly reports on how Mikah is doing in our home). We had to pay for these reports at the same time as the homestudy, since apparently otherwise people tend to not get around to completing them. :)

    • Homestudy cost: $1700
    • Postplacement reports cost: $1000

    Total: $2700

  3. USCIS fees:
    The U.S. government requires an application in order to give parents approval to adopt.

    Our application cost: $890

  4. Misc. "Administrative" fees:
    This includes fees for things like passports, background checks, fingerprints, apostilles, postage, etc. It all adds up!

    Estimated fees: $1000

  5. First Trip travel costs: This includes airfare for Jordan and me, lodging and meals for 7 days, and Mikah's visa fee.

    Estimated costs: $4000 (airfare costs vary depending on what time of year you travel, so it's hard to give an accurate number until the time gets closer!)

  6. Second (Pickup) Trip travel costs: This includes airfare for me, and a one-way fare home for Mikah, lodging and meals for 14 days, and Mikah's medical clearance fees.

    Estimated costs: $5000 (again, depends on the cost of airfare, and also if we determine I can go alone on this trip, or if we need a second person to help. We plan to decide that after we meet Mikah on trip 1.)

So there you have it! The costs add up quickly and sometimes it seems ridiculous that the fees are so high. However, now that I understand where the money was going to, it makes a lot more sense. The adoptive process involves a lot of steps that are there for the protection of the child, and also the parents. All of these hoops we are jumping through (while costly), help Mikah's country know that we are capable parents for him and have the right motives in adopting him. In turn, our agency does a lot of work ensuring that our rights are protected as well, especially when it comes to our time spent in Mikah's country.

So yes, we are starting to get a handle on the financial side of adoption, for the most part! We're still working on the "waiting with patience" part. You probably don't want me to get started on that, so we'll save that for another day.... :)


BLESSED

5/19/2015

yardsale

The yard sale is done and it was huge and very successful! It ended up being a much bigger deal than originally planned. We received more donated items than I ever thought we would, and it made for one smashing, bangup yard sale!

Preparation for this sale took over a month and involved many helpers. There was a lot of sweat, long days, and back aches involved...but also a lot of laughter and fun times as we sorted through and organized everything.

Here are some of the things I'll never forget:

  • Many times going to someone's house expecting to take five minutes to pick up donations...and then ending up standing in their driveway for a half hour or more chatting because they wanted to know more about our adoption. We made some new friends this way!
  • Seeing friends and acquaintances that drove miles out of their way specifically to come to our sale to shop and support us.
  • The friend who didn't have anything to donate to the yard sale, but wanted to give something...so he recycled over $50 worth of pop cans from his garage and donated the funds to us.
  • The boys from our church, brothers (kindergarten and second grade), who set up a stand at our sale and sold matchbox cars and pop, and gave us the proceeds. It was adorable and their servant's hearts still bring tears to my eyes!! :) :) :)
  • Chatting with yard sale customers about the adoption, meeting new people that either have adopted children themselves or were somehow close to adoption.
  • Talking to a woman who came on the first day of the sale, and learning that she has a daughter (age 23, I believe) with cerebral palsy, which is the same condition Mikah has. She came back to the sale on Saturday with a car trunk full of items she donated to the sale! I was very touched by her thoughtfulness.
  • We received a huge donation from a complete stranger that had come to the sale on Thursday. Apparently she read our story on our blog after she went home that day, and then came back on Friday and handed me an envelope with a beautiful letter in it and a cashier's check for $1700 (!!!!!) Her letter said she and her husband wished to remain anonymous so that we would know the gift was coming from God. I find it to be of no coincidence that the next set of fees we are scheduled to pay is....you guessed it: $1700. Exactly. I will literally be writing a check probably in the next week for that exact amount. I was blown away!

The total amount we raised from the sale, including the extra donations: $6292!!

THANK YOU ALL!

People that deserve a big round of applause:

My Mom and sisters Debbie, Brenda, and Shelly, who came multiple times to my house in the weeks before the sale to sort and organize all the stuff, and also worked long hours on the days of the sale. Specifically Debbie, who made up informational cards about Mikah to hand out at the sale, and also was pretty much in charge of all the advertising.

Jordan's mom Martha, my Dad, sister Carla, sister Esther, friends Cathy, Lori, Stephanie, and Jeff, who came and helped set up the sale, worked tirelessly during the sale, and helped with the cleanup after the sale. My sister Crista who graciously babysat our kids for two days of the sale.

A new friend, Mindy, who volunteered her house as a collection spot for donations, which ended up taking up her whole back porch and also a whole lot of her time! I was very touched by her kindness and willingness to help!

Our longsuffering neighbors, who didn't offer a word of complaint when our street was jampacked with extra traffic for those 3 days. Specifically, Scott and Joanne, who let us use their driveway and lawn for parking.

Countless others that helped us out -- all those who donated things, baked cookies and bars for us to sell, loaned us tables, tarps, and clothing racks, etc. It was truly a community effort!

We thank God for you all!


Progress!

4/15/2015

I just thought I'd write a little progress report on what we've been accomplishing so far. I actually feel like we're getting somewhere!

One of the first things we need complete is our homestudy. For this, our assigned social worker conducts a series of interviews with us, and also inspects our home to make sure it is safe for the child we are hoping to adopt. The process also involves a large collection of documents (copies of birth certificates and marriage license, personal references, medical clearances, letters from employers, background checks, etc). At the end, a large report of all the findings is written up, along with an official recommendation that we be allowed to adopt the child. We were told that the homestudy process takes about 3-6 months.

So, we had our initial interview with our social worker a few weeks ago, and today she came to our house for the home visit. She is very comfortable and easy to work with, so that really put us at ease! It made for a pleasant (rather than nerve-wracking!) visit. I was thankful for that. She focused a lot on our kids, chatting with them and asking them easy-natured questions. In return, they eagerly showed her around our house, and pointed out all the "important" things -- their toys, bunk beds, bikes in the basement, etc. Oh, and the leaky toilet (Oh joy!).

Anyway, at the end of the visit, she said that she needed to meet with Jordan and me each separately, for one more interview. After that, as long as we collected all the documents we needed to, she would be ready to write it all up and complete the homestudy! So, barring any big snags, we are looking at finishing the whole deal in about 3 weeks. That puts us at about a 6 week homestudy, from start to finish. This is a far cry from the 3-6 months we were told to expect! This makes us very happy. :) Our social worker is lovely and understands that we want to get things done as soon as we can! We are very thankful for her.

In the meantime, we're working on getting all of our documents in order. Tomorrow, we will head to the county clerk's office to get our passport applications in, and then to the police station to order our background checks and get fingerprinted.

Things we have already done:

  1. Obtained 47 certified copies each of our birth certificates and marriage license (okay, not quite 47...but you get the idea)
  2. Poured our hearts and souls out for the "autobiography" section of the homestudy paperwork. (Seriously, no stone is left unturned! There are no secrets. Haha.)
  3. Gone to our doctor's office to get physicals and medical forms filled out bethdoctor

Officially: "Ms. Bethany Whiteley and Mr. Jordan Whiteley are free of any chronic diseases that would impair their ability to care for an adopted child." YAY!

This is turning into quite a journey! :)


Yard Sale!

4/6/2015

We are going to be having a yard sale + bake sale fundraiser soon, planned for sometime in the beginning of May. The official dates will have to depend on the weather, since it will be outside for the most part! We plan to set tentative dates, and then change them if the weather is bad.

For those of you that are close to Grand Rapids: We are looking for donated items for our sale! Have a box of things you've been meaning to drop off at Goodwill? We'd love to take it off your hands! Just contact us at whiteleybeth@gmail.com to schedule a pick up!

As long as we can fit your donation into this:

van

We'll take it!

Brandon's Hidden Treasures Auction

I just wanted to post an auction link for another boy I care about very much:

brandon

This is Brandon, and he lives with Mikah in the group home -- and he has a family coming to adopt him too! This auction is raising money for his adoption. It ends tomorrow night.

The wonderful people that got together this auction for Brandon's family are also planning to arrange an auction for Mikah! I am so thankful for their commitment to these precious kids!

http://treasuresinhiddenplaces.blogspot.com/

So I invite you to take a look at the items up for bid! There are still some good deals on there!


How it began

4/3/2015

Hey, Jordan here. I figure its fitting to tell the story of where this began from my perspective since it was all so sudden to me. I had known about Mikah and the other kids in his specific situation for a while now, but it was on more of a, "Ok Beth we can donate some money, but I don't want to think about that kinda thing because it'll make me depressed." Then on valentines day 2015 Beth and I were out on a dinner date and she popped the question to me that she wanted us to consider adopting a 40lb teenager with a questionable background that also had cerebal palsy, and hydrocephalus (way to get into the mood hon!).

My first reaction was wat.

wat

My second reaction was to ask if that second thing was even a real medical condition/english word, to which I was informed that it meant that he had too much fluid around his brain and probably had a big head. From there it went mostly down hill. Beth was serious about this so I owed it to her to give this a lot of consideration before saying no way not in a million years can I go hide under the table now or would that be frowned on by the TGIF staff. I managed to hold it together for the rest of the night, and I had a lot to think about over that night and for the next couple weeks.

The story for me seems to be part 2 of a story that I hoped had it's grand finale on Valentines day two years ago. Understanding why I eventually said yes requires knowing my little spit-fire of a daughter Katherine. Her story and what we went through deserves it's own book, but I'll try to summarize in a paragraph. Katherine stopped breathing a few hours after birth and needed to be ventilated. The doctors couldn't find anything wrong with her other than (the obvious) she just stops breathing. We went through a ton of restless nights and number of close calls and frantic ambulance rides to the hospital to bring her back to us. During all this I was having another problem of the heart; I loved this girl with everything I had and I was almost certain that one of these times would be time she died and couldn't be brought back. I knew how much this would hurt me, and entered a depressive spiral of pushing her away followed by "You monster she's your daughter and she needs you."

katherine

What finally got me out of this depressive spiral was prayer. I prayed a lot, and God answered me with this bizarre analogy, "You can hate pushups because they hurt, but they will make your arms stronger. You can hate circumstances in your life because they hurt, but they will make your heart and soul stronger." I needed the strength in my heart to love a daughter with everything I had, even when I knew that the more I loved her the more deeply it would hurt when she died. This isn't nearly as inspirational as it may read when you are in the situation. I suspect no motivational catch-phrase really makes getting punched in the mouth feel better and my direct counter thought was, "But I don't want to be stronger. God doesn't give talents to be buried in the ground and I just want to live a mundane life." To make an already long story short I got over myself and my heart grew 2 sizes that day. Soon after we took a trip out to Mayo Clinic and Katherine got diagnosed with Congenital Myasthenia (a very rare genetic condition). A few months after that on Valentines day was the last time Katherine had to be resuscitated at the hospital (still wasn't easy but I could emotionally accept it). We have had 2 full years of respite from that storm.

katherine

On the ride home from our date and over the next week I kept coming back to Katherine. My emotional mind kept saying, "nopenopenope notgonnahappen nonono...". The more logical side kept reminding me that I had spent almost a year of my life agonizing about not wanting to be strong enough to handle something like this. I knew that God had developed a talent in me, and that we had the heart to handle this. We also had gained the proper experience in the medical world to be able to handle a special needs child. I saw the need in this small child who was so old, that we could fill. I especially remembered that I had a Father in heaven, and a father on earth that had both adopted me. Everything pointed to yes even when I desperately, selfishly, wanted to cling to what normalcy my life had left. It got to the point where I felt a real connection to Jonah, so would someone please take me out to sea and throw me off a boat in the middle of a storm and let a big fish eat me? Hopefully sharks this time instead of the kind that would vomit me up in eastern Europe.

It took me about a week before I could tell Bethany to get started on the paperwork because I knew that this was something that I was being called to do, even if I didn't feel ready for it. About 2 weeks after that I was finally able to calm down enough to accept it. I still don't know that I'll stop being anxious about this until we have Mikah home for a while; it's hard to love someone before you know them. But this is the start of my journey and hopefully this story will have a good ending.


So far they are overall excited about the prospect of getting another sibling!

We have to answer a lot of questions and do a lot of explaining about what Mikah is like and what it will be like having him in our family.....that, even though he's 13, he won't be very much like their 13 year old cousins. We have talked about the fact that he will need to use a wheelchair, and will need a lot more help with the things that they can do easily -- things like eating, getting dressed, taking a bath, etc.

Katherine at first commented (excitedly) that she will be so glad to have Mikah around because then there will be someone else to help them pick up their toys. (One of the great hardships of life when you're 3, I guess.) Haha. I explained to her that it's possible he doesn't even know how to play with toys, so we probably won't be able to count on him picking up the toys. Too bad. :) I let them know that I will need their help to teach him how to play and be a kid. They took this quite seriously and are now eager to share their toys with him. Even the legos. (This is quite a high honor.)

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Jimmy has been talking about the prospect of sharing a room with Mikah ("because we're both boys, Mom.") I would love it if this will work out! However, I told Jim that we better wait and see how Mikah sleeps when he gets home -- if he's scared, or noisy and restless at night, then he might have to sleep in a different room, at least at first. Jim reasoned, "But Mom, I can sleep when Katherine's breathing machine is on, AND even with Dad's snoring...so it will be just fine if he sleeps by me." He makes a good point. Jimmy is indeed the heaviest sleeper in the house, so it may work out well. :)

It has become our routine that as they are being tucked into bed at night, I give them time to ask questions about Mikah. They are taking full advantage of this and really enjoy pushing bedtime off as much as possible. I am happy about this too because it gives us a chance to talk things over with no distractions, and while they are giving me their 100% attention. Lately they have been wondering about our traveling to Mikah's country -- can they come along (sorry kids, but no), then, who will they stay with while we are gone, will we go by airplane or helicopter (this ended up being a pretty big debate with no clear winner), and how long it will be before Mikah actually comes home. Having to wait a whole year is a really looooong time when you're a kid!

As for now, I am thankful that their response to this adoption has been so positive, and I am hoping this continues!

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Exciting News!

3/26/2015

Thanks for stopping by our new blog!

We are excited to announce that we are beginning the process of adopting Mikah, this beautiful 13-year-old boy from Eastern Europe! We are thrilled to be adding to our family in this way, and we plan to use this blog as a way to provide updates to anyone that is interested in following our journey.

We are pretty new to the whole adoption process, and are sure there will be many bumps along the way (from what we hear, that’s more normal than not!).

We invite you to click on the tabs on the top to learn more about us! We appreciate your love and support!


So, how did we get here? Have we been considering adoption for a long time? How did we find out about Mikah? These are questions we get asked a lot! Hopefully this will answer everything.

It all started less than a year ago, when some friends of ours announced they were beginning the process of domestic infant adoption. I (Bethany) was excited for them, so I got online and began researching what their process was going to be. Somehow, I stumbled upon this blog, which tells the story of an American family that adopted a tiny, malnourished 9-year-old girl from horrible conditions in an Eastern European orphanage. My eyes were opened to a cruel world I never knew existed, and I began reading and researching more about these kids and the lives they lived in their orphanages. I soon found out about Reece's Rainbow, a charity that advocates for special needs orphans and raises money for their adoptions. I joined their advocacy group on facebook so I could stay in the loop.

Even then, the idea of adopting one of these children was still off in "maybe someday" land. I knew about Mikah, and had seen his profile on Reece's Rainbow, and along with everyone else, wished a family would step up for him! It never occurred to me that we were that family.

Then, this past February, I, along with the rest of the Reece's Rainbow family, learned that Mikah was scheduled to be transferred from his orphanage to a very bad situation in a group home. Suddenly his need to be adopted was urgent! Over the course of a Friday morning, God laid it on my heart that we should adopt him -- that we were to be his family! I brought it to Jordan, and we talked it over, prayed about it, talked about it some more, etc. Of course, all the questions came up: Can we really do this? Our lives will never be the same! How are we going to be able to handle this? Will I ever be able to leave the house again? (that was mine, haha!)

Then, the questions turned to things like: What school will he go to? Will we need to get a van with a wheelchair lift right away, or can it wait? Are we both going to travel to get him, or should just one of us go?

We discussed it and prayed about it over the course of a week. We confided in some close friends, and received nothing but encouragement from them! Also, in that week, God removed a significant financial roadblock for us -- a roadblock that would have delayed the adoption process for sure, and may have discouraged us from taking the plunge in the first place! It was a direct answer to a specific prayer we had. It was amazing and humbling to see Him work in this way!

So, we officially signed papers to commit to adopting Mikah, and here we are! We feel so blessed to have this privilege, and are eager for him to take his place as a part of our family!